This Week in AG History — April 2, 1949
By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 02 April 2020
Annie Bailie (1900-1986) immigrated from Ireland to the United States with her family in 1906, settling in Pennsylvania. She served as a tireless missionary for 58 years in southern China and Hong Kong, despite imprisonment and relocation during World War II, where she trained workers and built churches that would last through the communist revolution.
Bailie’s parents prayed fervently that their nine children would find success and happiness in their new country, and that they would serve God wholeheartedly. When she was 14 years old, Annie, the youngest child, consecrated herself to Christ and a few years later was filled with the baptism in the Holy Spirit at a camp meeting.
Annie Bailie took a job in a manufacturing plant to earn enough money to support her real passion — ministry. While in her early 20s, she passed out gospel literature on her lunch breaks, visited local hospitals on Saturdays, helped with street meetings, conducted a prison ministry, held Sunday School in rural areas, served in a young people’s group, and attended the many services at her church. Somehow, she also managed to find time to assist her brother in his outreach to African Americans.
She felt God calling her to leave her home and travel across the world to China. She was reluctant to go, explaining to God that she was a worker, not a preacher. She fought the inclination for several months but, in simple obedience to God, Bailie submitted herself to God’s call and boarded a ship for China on Oct. 28, 1928, sailing for the land that would be her home for the next 58 years.
Arriving just in time to experience the early years of the Chinese Civil War, Bailie spent much of her first missionary term dodging the fighting and assisting local Christians to find safe places while discipling them to put their faith in Christ.
Three years after her arrival, the situation became more difficult when Japan invaded mainland China. Bailie and those living with her slept in their clothes each night, always ready to make a quick escape to a safer place. One night, robbers came into their home and demanded money. A Chinese person living with Bailie told them that they were preachers, and that preachers did not have any money. While this conversation was happening, Ballie began to pray and soon found herself praying in tongues. This panicked the intruders and they hurriedly left with no further harm to the women.
In 1934, the Holy Spirit spoke through a Chinese believer who knew no English, speaking in perfect English with instructions to go north. Bailie moved to Pak Noi, where she experienced many fruitful years of ministry, despite the heavy fighting and bombing of the city by the Japanese army.
When non-Chinese residents were imprisoned, Bailie was able to avoid detection due to her mastery of the language, dark hair, and petite frame. A local villager, fearing retribution from their oppressors, ended up betraying her. Though she was placed in a Japanese internment camp in China, Bailie reported that her captors were not overly cruel. They allowed Chinese Christians to bring food to her and she was able to freely minister to others in the camp.
In June 1942, Bailie and other Americans were released from the camps and returned to the United States. In 1947, after the end of World War II, she returned to Pak Noi to find that the village had been leveled but that the church was rebuilding. In 1947, through joint efforts between the Assemblies of God and the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, Ecclesia Bible Institute was established and began to train workers to minister to the Chinese people with the gospel of Jesus Christ and the healing of the Holy Spirit. In a letter published in the April 2, 1949, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, Bailie asked for prayer that more of the students would receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
Bailie worked freely in Pak Noi until 1949, when forced to leave due to the Chinese Communist Revolution. She entrusted the church to the care of a local pastor and moved to Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, she helped to establish and operate four schools, provided scholarships to young Christians, and returned to the ministry of hospital visitation and tract distribution like she had done in her early years in Pennsylvania. Many were saved, healed, encouraged, and filled with the Spirit due to her loving ministry.
In the late 1970s, Bailie was able to return for a visit to her beloved friends in Pak Noi. She discovered that the government had recently returned the church building to the congregation, which was still being led by the pastor who Bailie had discipled and left in charge in 1949. Not only had the government returned the property, but it paid rent for the many years the church building had been used as a warehouse, giving the congregation enough money to renovate the church and to purchase Bibles for every member.
After Annie returned to Hong Kong, her health began to deteriorate. She died at the age of 86 and, in accordance with her instructions, she was buried in Hong Kong, not far from the church she started almost 40 years before.
Read Annie Bailie’s report, “In South China,” on page 11 of the April 2, 1949, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.
Also featured in this issue:
• “The Salt and Light of the World” by Donald Gee
• “The Meaning of Spirituality” by Myer Pearlman
• “The Promise is Unto You” by Stanley Frodsham
And many more!
Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.
Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.
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